Awnings have been around since the time of the ancient Romans. They were made of linen shade cloths, which were essentially flax fibers woven together. This was very similar to the sails made in that day, and when covered with wax or oil, they became weatherproof.
A large awning was made to cover part of the Roman Colosseum, and in fact, sailors who had experience raising and lowering sails were put in charge of this same task to shade the spectators. Of course, linen, being a natural fiber, soon eroded from the suns rays, water damage, mold, and mildew. Even though patches were made, and linen was the best material for the job, it was just not suited to remain constantly exposed to the elements for a long period of time.
Canvas and Cotton
When America was discovered, two brand new materials became available for awnings: canvas, a coarse cloth made of hemp, and cotton. Canvas was heavy and durable, and when coated with oil, or other water repellant substances, it became extremely weatherproof. But it was heavy and unwieldy, and although it worked well for commercial use, it was not a perfect material for consumer or residential use.
Cotton seemed to solve all of the problems. It was lightweight, it could be made weatherproof, and it was easy to handle. While it was a good choice in many ways, it lacked the durability needed for an extended year after year usage.
The Acrylic Solution
The best awning fabric made is constructed out of acrylic resin and textile fibers. The acrylic penetrates the fibers, making them completely water and weatherproof, enhancing durability while still remaining flexible at virtually any temperature. The acrylic solution has taken awnings into the new millennium.
Dorchester Awning uses the finest awning fabric available. It is a mix of acrylic resins, textile, and microfibers. Using this modern fabric not only makes awnings relatively lightweight, but it also makes them virtually impervious to the weather. Plus, an added benefit from using acrylic makes them easy to clean, many times by just using a hose to rinse them off, and they will resist mildew as well. This fabric also takes to coloring, so acrylic awnings can be colored to your choice.
Acrylic awning fabric is also the best material for retractable awnings too. It stays flexible all year long, so retracting or deploying is never a hassle. If they get wet, simply allow them to dry before retracting, and the acrylic material will never mold or mildew.
Dorchester Awning has specialized in awning manufacture and installation since 1901. From fixed awnings to retractable models, commercial to residential, we serve Boston, Cape Cod, and all of Eastern Massachusetts. Contact us for a free quote.